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History

Koinonia / About / History

An Idea That Began at Home

Our mission is to partner with people who have developmental disabilities and other complex conditions, resulting in the highest possible quality of life through integrated, whole-person care.

Koinonia is an idea that began at home. In the early 1970s when choices about where people with developmental disabilities could live and thrive were either few or dismal, a group of parents and other concerned citizens gathered around a kitchen table and decided there had to be a better way.

Founded in 1974, Koinonia is the leading non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization in Northeast Ohio providing residential, day program, and career services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

This year, we have refined our mission to ensure that we address the whole person, integrating care and supports in ways that support the unique needs and preferences of each person we serve. Our goal is to provide integrated care that addresses the whole individual, including intellectual and developmental disability, mental health, behavioral health, and healthcare conditions, many of which are inexorably linked in the population we serve.

Koinonia Historical Timeline

1974

1974

Sr. Mary Charles Szczecinski of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order founded Koinonia and served as the first director. Under her guidance, Sr. Mary Charles opened Leans home in Garfield Heights, which was donated through the generosity...
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1980’s

1980’s

In the 1980's, Koinonia established a supported living program and opened five additional residential homes. The agency's efforts were recognized in a 1983 Plain Dealer Article titled "Group homes fight ignorance, hostility," which focused on our home The Way located in...
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1990’s

1990’s

In the 1990's, Diane Beastrom became Executive Director of Koinonia. Koinonia also opened two additional residential homes and continued to expand the number of people served in the supported living program. Additionally, the agency moved to the concept of staff...
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2000’s

2000’s

In the early 2000's, Koinonia merged with Great Lakes Residential Services, acquiring five additional group homes, two supported living sites, and a transitional foster care program. In 2006, Koinonia launched its day and vocational services, followed by the establishment of...
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2010’s

2010’s

In the 2010's, Diane Beastrom became President and CEO of Koinonia. Additionally, Koinonia Enterprises participated in the Ohio Path to Employment First Initiative. The agency also added a second day and vocational site in Mayfield Heights. During this time, Koinonia also...
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2020

2020

When COVID-19 hit our group homes in 2020, staff worked together to lift each other up and keep our clients safe. They made personal sacrifices, including staying at hotels to protect their own families or temporarily living at one of...
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